Memoir Monday: Memoir Partner Follow Up to “Joan Follows Her Dream in a 1953 Letter to Her Father”

(Excerpt written using 7 Memories: Partnering to Write a Memoir)

From Memoir Partner, Rosemary:

My mom and I love partnering together to write her memoir. From the beginning, I had a sense of relief knowing where to start. The questions are awesome. The prompts make a world of difference as they bring out information I hadn’t thought about. And I’m learning things about my mom I never knew. This method has been a gift to both of us.”

I wrote this letter to my father, in 1953 when I was 23 years old, living in San Francisco and working to save money so I could go to Europe. I had just graduated from Stanford and my heart’s desire was to get to Europe. I had told him I could save half if he would pay the other half. He, characteristically, wrote back a letter with repetitious questions. This letter was my response. I thought his letter was silly and repetitive, but I really wanted the money. To type the response, I used a fancy typewriter in the advertising department at work.

It was fascinating to read this letter again. I hadn’t looked at this for 50,000 years! I had told my father I could save $500 by the following fall. He laughed his head off. So you think, by God, I didn’t go ahead and save that money? In this letter I seem a little more comfortable with myself than I remembered. He was challenging me and I was answering the challenge. It surprises me I did such a good job, because I was very immature at that time. It was my life, what I most wanted to do, my dream was get myself in a position where I could live in other cultures and they would be open to me. When I got there, I studied art at the Academe Julienne in Paris. (Rosemary partnering with her 85-year-old mom.)